By: Bethany Baird ( Guest Post)
I was thirteen years old and heading in for my first experience with the well known photography company Glamour Shots. My mom and I were on a special girls trip to Dallas, Texas to celebrate my birthday. Obviously getting my hair highlighted, nails manicured and pictures taken was a must for this girly girl.
I loved every minute of the Glamour Shot experience. The makeup. The hair. The clothes. The looking at pictures. The compliments. I felt beautiful and accepted.
After the shoot I looked through the pictures and picked out my favorites. We ordered a package and then left the store to continue on our trip.
When the pictures arrived I started handing them out to my friends (I’m not sure why I gave them out to friends. I guess it was the Instagram of the early 2000’s?)
Then I noticed something very interesting.
I had three different pictures in three different outfits and poses. Two of the poses were sweet and smiley and all around beautiful. The third picture was the one I considered more “grown up.”
In that picture I had a bright blue shirt on that made my eyes pop. I was laying my head on my arm with my hair laid out to the side. I was looking directly into the camera with my best thirteen year old model pose.
That picture, above all of the others, got me the “wows!” “you look amazing” “you are beautiful girl” “you look like a model” comments.
Looking back I realize that that was one of my first run-ins with the idea that looking hot gets you more attention. I didn’t consciously take note of that experience at the time, but I slowly began to realize that looking “hot” truly would get me more attention.
It’s been quite a few years since that photo shoot at Glamour Shots, but the problem I encountered has only worsened.
Just a few weeks ago we received an email from a young lady explaining to us that she gets SO much more attention from her friends when she posts “hot” pics. She said that when she posts a normal, non-hot picture, she gets way less attention.
The sad part is it’s true. I’ve experienced it and I’m sure most of you have too.
You may be thinking, “not another post talking about purity or modesty.” Don’t worry! I will write about that again in the future, but not today. Today I want to stand up for girls caught in the “hot pic trap.”
The “hot pic trap” is the trap we girls get in when we measure our worth as females by the approval, attention and compliments from others. It’s a horrible downward spiral that never satisfies and only leaves us empty and in need of more.
It works like this. Monday morning you post a pic where you are looking like one hot chic. People praise you, tell you how beautiful you are and make you feel like a million bucks. Tuesday evening rolls around and your comments are dying off. You notice that your friend, Sandra, posted a really great pic and she is now getting loads of attention.
Soon everyone forgets about you and your hotness and you’re actually feeling depressed and worthless. So, what do you do? You come up with the solution. Post another hot looking pic. As usual the praises come in and you are feeling great…at least until the pic gets old and the comments die down.
I’ve been there and it’s not a fun way to live.
I know how tempting it can be to find my worth in other people’s praises of me and it’s an empty place to be. It always dies down and it always requires doing more. There are always “hotter” girls to compete with. There are always ways to improve. It’s a constant battle of working to get the praise that you so desperately desire.
I want you to know that you are worth so much more than the compliments and opinions of those around you.
Your friends have no right to define your worth and you shouldn’t let them. You are going to become (or are) an insecure and hopeless girl if you do. You will always be fighting, competing and in need of more. Never confident and never satisfied.
Confidence in Someone outside of yourself.
I want to challenge you to become a confident and secure young women who is focused on finding her worth outside of herself. When you realize that your worth is found in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection on the cross, His perfect love for you and His intentional design of you as His creation, you can have security and value despite what others say.
I want you to take some time to think through these questions:
Why do I want the praise and attention from those around me?
Is my security and confidence as a girl wrapped up in other’s opinions of me?
Do I want friends who love me more for my outward beauty or for my inward?
Do I have confidence and security that my value is defined by God?
How can I live in a way that points others to Christ and not myself?
I am cheering for you and want you to have the freedom and confidence that comes from looking to Christ for your identity and not your friends. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.